For new parents, sleep is often in short supply– the demands of caring for a newborn around the clock leaves little time for any kind of downtime, much less a full night’s sleep. The resulting sleep deprivation can leave parents feeling more overwhelmed than usual and unable to cope with the challenges that come with having a newborn. In some cases, a lack of sleep can result in postpartum depression.

While sleep is crucial for your physical and mental health and even your ability to care for your baby, you may be struggling to find the time. However, there are a few strategies you can implement to start getting some extra sleep and alleviate that overwhelming stress.

New Parents Can Ask For Help

First and foremost, there is never any reason to feel shame for needing help – they say it takes a village for a reason! If you don’t have a partner, or if you’re both feeling overwhelmed, reach out to family or consider hiring a professional to help carry the weight. Having an extra set of hands, whether it’s a family member or a newborn care specialist can make getting sleep a lot easier. Just make sure to select someone you trust and feel comfortable with so that sleep you get is truly stress-free.

Establish a Sleep Routine

One of the most effective ways to ensure more sleep for both you as new parents and your newborn is by establishing a consistent sleep routine and sticking to it! You’ve likely read about creating these routines for your newborn, and just as they help them learn to fall asleep and stay that way, they’ll help you as well!

Work at going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. By creating this consistency, you’ll start to regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, making it easier to fall asleep at the “normal” time in the future, and then wake up feeling more rested in the morning! Other ways to train your body include creating a bedtime routine for yourself that promotes relaxation — take a warm bath and read a book. Your brain will pick up on these triggers and realize it’s time to sleep!

Parents Need To Nap Too

While this tip is easier said than done, napping can still be a valuable tool to get more sleep to alleviate that new parent stress! Especially in the beginning, it can feel impossible to get long stretches of uninterrupted sleep, so naps can become the only way to get any shut-eye. Taking a nap whenever your little one is down, even if only 20-30 minutes, can help you feel more alert and refreshed.

Parenting Is A Partnership, Take Turns

If you have a partner, don’t be afraid to lean on them during the harder times! Taking turns with nighttime feedings and diaper changes help to distribute the overall workload and ensure that both parents are getting some form of rest and sleep throughout the week. Even just those few hours of uninterrupted sleep when your partner is on duty can make a significant difference in your stress levels. Make sure to create clear and open communication when doing this to make sure everyone’s needs and expectations are understood.

Create the Right Environment

If you aren’t getting quality sleep overnight, you can wake up feeling even worse than when you went to bed! You can remedy this by creating a sleep-conducive environment that leads to better overall sleep quality — make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool for starters. You’ll also want to make sure you remove any distractions that may keep you awake, like phones or TVs.

Consider investing in blackout curtains to mask outside light, and comfortable bedding so your bed feels relaxing! Other ways to curate a better sleeping environment is by using a white noise machine or earplugs to block out any noise. Just make sure someone is listening out for the baby!

Indulge in Some Self-Care

Self-care isn’t just a buzzy trend, it’s imperative to your wellbeing! Practicing self-care is a great way to alleviate stress and even help you get the quality sleep you need. Take time to yourself to engage in any activity that helps you relax and enjoy – this could be physical activity like yoga or a long walk, curling up on the couch with a good book, or even trying your hand at meditation.

And don’t forget the absolute basics of self-care! Even when you’re busy with your newborn, it’s important to still eat a healthy diet and get some daily movement in. By taking care of yourself, your body can leave fight or flight mode and relax into that great quality sleep each night. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your little one!

Those early days and months are hard on new parents, and not getting enough sleep makes it that much harder – by implementing a few of these strategies, you can start to improve your sleep and alleviate that overwhelming stress you may have been feeling. Whether you manage on your own, with your partner, or with extra help, taking care of yourself allows you to be your best self for your baby! If you decide you need an extra set of hands, Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny can come to your aid, allowing Mom and Dad some more rest.